Published: 11 July 2017
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Category: Contemporary/Young Adult/Mental Health
I’m never going outside again.
Mallory hasn’t left the house in sixty-seven days–since the day her dad left. She attends her classes via webcam, rarely leaves her room (much to her brother’s chagrin), and spends most of her time watching The X-Files or chatting with the always obnoxious BeamMeUp on New Mexico’s premier alien message board.
But when she’s shockingly nominated for homecoming queen, her life takes a surprising turn. She slowly begins to open up to the world outside. And maybe if she can get her popular jock neighbor Brad Kirkpatrick to be her homecoming date, her classmates will stop calling her a freak.
In this heartwarming and humorous debut, Mallory discovers first love and the true meaning of home–just by taking one small step outside her house.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
A main character that likes aliens? That’s new to me! Attending school via web cam? Okay, well how’s that going to work? Let’s request this book and find out.
To start, I’d have liked it if there were more alien moments, maybe a bit more focus on Mal’s interest in extraterrestrials. While her interactions on the message board We Are Not Alone did lead to a pretty important connection, it didn’t feature in the book as much as I thought it might. She lives an hour outside of Roswell, I’d have thought maybe there’d be a few more tidbits about aliens or talk from someone in her life.
The love aspect of the book was good in that there was a bit of a love triangle, but the side of the triangle that doesn’t get picked isn’t made into a horrible person. This almost never happens and I can’t think of an example other than Walking on Knives by Maya Chhabra. Both Brad and Jake were decent characters and while I wouldn’t say they were especially deep, they were light, fun characters that got the story told.
Mal’s friend Jenni was cool and I kept picturing Lilly Singh playing her because Jenni was a YouTube personality of Indian descent with a big personality. She had many quotes preceding each chapter that proved she had a lot of insight into not only her friends, but life in general. Her tips and tricks for dressing up were interesting, but I also liked her support of Mal, even if we do discover something she did toward the end that shocked me.
The most educational thing to me was learning about the concept of agoraphobia in a manner that I hadn’t considered before. I didn’t realize when I started reading this book that I had a narrow view of that MI and as I was reading about Mal and her dealing with her anxiety disorder with agoraphobic tendencies, I discovered that there was a lot more to it than I had known in the past. That being said, it still felt strange that Mal was able to set aside the overwhelming feelings about going outside when Brad and Jake were around, people that she didn’t know well at that point. Also, I wasn’t 100% thrilled with out Mal’s mother and brother were treating her anxiety/agoraphobic tendencies. A lot of the time it felt like they were treating it like she was overreacting to her father leaving the family and that she should get over it.
This contemporary novel reminded me of a 90’s movie where the main character, the one you’d never expect to be homecoming queen or what have you, gets changed to be that kind of person. She gets the spirit points, she goes to parties, she gets the crown. This all brought to mind She’s All That or 10 Things I Hate About You.
Love and Other Alien Experiences is a light book that is a pretty fast read that has some pop culture references, an unintended (or is it?) fellow author reference, and a determined main character who has her difficulties and makes her way through them, even if she doesn’t realize it all the time.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.